Album Reviews

Cee Cee James

Stripped Down and Surrendered

Artist:     Cee Cee James

Album:     Stripped Down and Surrendered

Label:     FWG

Release Date:     10/21/2016

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Dubbed as the “Vocal Volcano,” Cee Cee James is certainly a force to be reckoned with. She’s a songwriter, an activist, and a woman of deep faith too. She and her husband/cowriter – Rob “Slideboy” Andrews are on a musical mission to deliver the honest emotions of love, recovery and life’s many challenges while paying tribute and respect to The Almighty. Their projects now carry the banner of Cee Cee James & The Mission of S.O.U.L. (Surrendering, Opening, Unlocking Love). As the title of this, her fourth CD, implies it is a raw, honest approach.

Recalling one of her earlier efforts, she struck me as a soulful, raspy blues artist reminiscent of Janis Joplin and Carolyn Wonderland. Upon listening to this one, she came across more as a fervent gospel singer although the aforementioned vocal comparisons still hold. “Stripped Down” also applies to the sound itself, often just a trio with keyboards and second guitar on select tracks.

These songs are apparently about the second half of Cee Cee’s life, removing her inhibitions and finding trust in both people and a higher faith. The song titles speak directly to her themes. She begins with the title track, reflecting on a sinful life that has turned toward optimism and love. Similarly, “The Edge Is Where I Stopped,” takes her to the brink, causing her to look inwardly. Insights of her rough childhood and early periods of adult life come through in “Thank You for Never Loving Me,” “Love Done Left Home” and “Cold Hard Gun.”

Some of this material, as rendered by James’ sincere, but far from smooth voice, takes some getting used to. But, revealing her dark side is a means of relaying her main message: love makes us stronger, but most of us have to undergo struggles to really appreciate it. You hear this loud and clear in “Glory Bound” and “So Grateful.” There’s no denying her compassion. She is completely unpretentious.

—Jim Hynes

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3 Responses

  1. Thank you ELMORE!!!!! Thank you so much and Jim Hynes… this so rocks!!!!! Your support of Artists is amazing and is so needed… get’s the word out to new Fans worldwide! God bless you all!!!

  2. Nobody deserves recognition more than Cee Cee James. Her passion, talent and soulful writing is unsurpassed. This CD is special.

  3. I’ve been friends with Christina and Rob for many years. To me, their first 3 albums are still absolutely incredible. When she was telling me the concept of this album, I was very excited but slightly leery of the idea of so few musicians. At the same time, I knew she and Rob could paint the sky if they set out to. Then I heard some of the early cuts she shared with me. Two words came to mind; Holy Shit!!!! When the album was released, my feet didn’t touch the ground for at least a week. Thank you so much for your awesome review of this album and of my two wonderful friends.